UPDATE 6PM 12/22: The BIG EAST powers-that-be have caved under the pressure of Casual Hoya and Kente Korner, and games canceled due to COVID will not be forfeited. It also appears there will be an attempt to reschedule/make-up the games that were missed.
Sources: The Big East will reclassify forfeitures and try to reschedule games moving forward.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 22, 2021
Told that there will be no forfeits. The forfeits that have been decided will be reversed, source says. #bigeasthoops— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) December 22, 2021
The lack of unanimity is troublesome. Let’s pray their university does not have a headline-making outbreak of Omicron.
Get off your high-horses, help someone out, and play the damn games.
UPDATE 12/23: Here is the BIG EAST press release:
NEW YORK (December 23, 2021) – The BIG EAST Conference today announced a modification to its game cancellation policy for men’s and women’s basketball for the 2021-22 season. The adjustment was the result of the recent sudden and significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases nationally and within BIG EAST programs due to the spread of the Omicron variant.
Under the modified policy, a Conference game will be canceled in the event a school has fewer than seven scholarship players and one countable coach available for a game. The BIG EAST Conference Office will attempt to reschedule any such game(s) in accordance with parameters approved by BIG EAST Directors of Athletics. In the event the rescheduling parameters cannot be fulfilled, the canceled game(s) will be designated as a no contest.
To date, four BIG EAST men’s Conference games had been designated as forfeitures under the previous COVID-19 game cancellation policy. The forfeiture classification will be removed from these games, and efforts are now underway to reschedule them at a later date. No women’s games to date have been designated as forfeitures.
The BIG EAST Conference, its member institutions and the Conference’s Health and Safety Working Group will continue to monitor the landscape and determine whether additional scheduling policy changes may be warranted in the future.
Key takeaways from new BIG EAST COVID policy:— Philadelphia Hoyadays (@PhillyHoyas) December 23, 2021
-"forfeiture classification will be removed"
-"efforts are now underway to reschedule them at a later date"
-"fewer than seven scholarship players and one countable coach available for a game" https://t.co/znU9FmacUe
December 22, 2021 — The BIG EAST, like many leagues and conference right now, is experiencing a dilemma based in COVID-related issues where games are being canceled, losses assigned, and revenue from ticket sales and television may be lost. The problem boils down to a n autumn-made policy where, if one team acknowledges they do not have the requisite number of players and/or staff test negative, the game is forfeited and never rescheduled. It’s widely acknowledged that such a policy today just stinks for everyone.
Asked source if Big East will follow and amend its forfeit rule. Was told it will be discussed. Nothing as of now. https://t.co/RUWHU3ibu7— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) December 22, 2021
What started out as a plan to motivate teams to be vaccinated has become an automatic loss for unfortunate programs who have almost inevitably come into contact with the Omicron variant. While nothing is definitive, it appears that even all-vaccinated teams are susceptible to several players at least testing positive for COVID even after a jab and/or booster. Fans hope no one is suffering, and the spread should be stopped after a positive test. Still, this policy is not fair to players, not practical for fans, and surely is disappointing the TV channels (FOX).
Forfeit rules were birthed out of a desire to motivate (or punish) programs that elected to NOT get vaccinated or, at bare minimum, make the vax “optional” for their players.— Clinton Crouch (@CoachCrouch) December 21, 2021
So a FULLY vaccinated team being punished for following rules…#MakeitMakeSense
Of course, we can easily say that Georgetown fans would be just as righteous about this injustice even if the Hoyas game against Providence had not been canceled due to lack of players. DePaul’s AD has taken a stand.
The cancelation problem is widespread and not going anywhere anytime soon. Andy Katz reported for the NCAA that “More than 100 games have been scrubbed for both the men and the women since Saturday, and scheduling on the run is back in fashion, with impromptu matches arranged 72 hours before tipoff.” That’s insane.
The BIG EAST men’s schedule has lost two DePaul games, a Seton Hall game, and a Georgetown game to this policy. Other conferences have had issues as well, but it seems like east-coast programs (and cities) have been impacted the most. Again, this is a testing policy to curb the spread and not necessarily rooted in unavailability due to symptoms. It needs to be readdressed and these games need to be rescheduled, if possible.
The NFL is the only sports league, professional or otherwise, that is handling testing appropriately.— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) December 21, 2021
The ACC announced today their new policy regarding COVID:
ACC MODIFIES COVID-19 GAME RESCHEDULING POLICY
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday that it has modified its 2021-22 COVID-19 rescheduling policy.
The decision was unanimously supported by the league’s athletics directors as a result of the current rise in COVID cases and its impact on winter sport programs. If possible, games that cannot be played as scheduled will be rescheduled. If a game cannot be played and cannot be rescheduled, it will be considered a no contest.
For men’s and women’s basketball, a team must have a roster minimum of seven game available student-athletes and one countable coach to play a game. If a team does not have the requisite number of participants, and elects not to play, the game shall be a no contest. If a team has the requisite number of participants and does not participate, the game will be declared a forfeit. This policy shall be retroactive to any results beginning with the 2021 ACC winter sports schedule.
Finally, the ACC’s Medical Advisory Group continues to monitor and discuss the current circumstances and, if necessary, may make adjustments to the current protocols.
The Big West and the Big 12 announced similar policy on Tuesday, but only requiring 6 scholarship players and a coach.
The Big 12 has officially changed its COVID forfeit policy for conference basketball games this season. Games will now be deemed a “no contest” if a team doesn’t have six healthy players and one coach.— Kellis Robinett (@KellisRobinett) December 22, 2021
Here’s the statement I got from the conference office: pic.twitter.com/SK7aXbFleY
Meanwhile, the MVC is sticking with their plan. Brilliant.
The Missouri Valley Conference has opted to keep its forfeit policy in place, sources told ESPN. If a team is unable to compete, it will forfeit the game.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) December 22, 2021
It’s seems like only a matter of time for the BIG EAST to join the policy changes (UPDATE: They did). We’ll see. Stay safe and healthy this holiday season!